Mike Jacobs

Senior energy analyst

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Michael Jacobs is a senior energy analyst with expertise in electricity markets, transmission and renewables integration work. See Mike's full bio.

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Lithium Batteries Finally Get their Due with Nobel Prize Win

Today’s award of  the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to the scientists that created lithium ion batteries marks the common heritage of mobile communications (laptops and smart phones), electric vehicles, and a new era in energy storage for our electric system.

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Tesla, Edison, “The Current War,” and What it Has to Do With Getting to Work

Getting to work on time can be enough of a hassle, but imagine if there wasn’t an agreed standard time, or worse if we didn’t have agreement about which side of the street to drive on. This simple but vital task of getting to work on time would be a mess.  Standardizing time zones was a key step in getting trains to run on schedules.

Today’s technology also relies on standards. “Plug-and-play” might be overused, but every appliance and wall socket are designed to meet agreed standards and offer consumers trouble-free connection for electrical products.

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Photo: UK Parliament

What Do Brexit and Energy Markets Have in Common? A lot.

To an observer of both, there are some irresistible parallels between the fiasco called Brexit and the stumbling of the US Mid-Atlantic/Midwest grid operator PJM over climate policy. The deadline is fast approaching for the UK’s long-awaited decision and still there’s no clarity, no plans and no transparency from the policymakers involved. I can’t help but be reminded of another fiasco of a deadline that is fast approaching on US energy plans.

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Photo: UK Parliament
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Photo: Pictures of Money/Flickr

The $2.5 Billion Question Waiting at FERC

The electricity industry is watching closely for news that will raise consumer costs some $2.5 billion per year.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to change the payments for new and old power plants in 13 states. This decision has been delayed a year by the resignation of a commissioner leaving split FERC and has an added feature: it tramples on state policies and prerogatives. Read more >

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Photo: Ma. William Carraway/Wikimedia Commons

An Absence of Energy Leadership in a Climate Crisis

State officials have a variety of policies and goals for the electricity supply for each of their states, from rate stability and economic development incentives, to ambitious renewable goals, to health and safety protections for workers and consumers. Governors and legislators are closer to constituents and respond to the interests of their communities more directly than a regional utility or federal agency. And in light of the federal government’s abdication of numerous duties, this is more true now than ever before. Read more >

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